I’ve always been a fan of sniping, finding that one spot in a multiplayer match and picking off the enemy one by one. I hadn’t heard of Sniper Elite until I stumbled upon a video by YouTuber Robbaz who produced a not-so-safe-for-work video of a not-so-safe-for-work game called Sniper Elite V2. Of course after watching the video, I had to pick it up and I actually quite enjoyed it – partly for the x-ray kill cam, but also because the game was actually a decent stealth/sniper game.
In 2013, Rebellion released Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, a standalone offshoot in which Hitler raised and unleashed hordes of fallen Nazi soldiers in the final days of World War II. Earlier this month, Rebellion released the third installment alongside remastered versions of Nazi Zombie Army and Nazi Zombie Army 2 and we take a look in our Zombie Army Trilogy review on the Xbox One.
As mentioned above, in the final days of World War II, Adolf Hitler is facing defeat and as a last resort raises the fallen through occult rituals. The resulting zombie hordes case Germany to be overrun with the undead, and the resulting campaign (spread over the three games in 15 missions) has players taking on the Nazi zombie army either single-handedly or with up to four players in co-op mode – and eventually facing a demonic Hitler himself.
The gameplay in Zombie Army Trilogy is pretty straightforward. As with any third-person shooter, players progress through various levels completing tasks or finding objectives in order to proceed. As was made popular with the Sniper Elite series, Rebellion’s X-Ray Kill Cam is present throughout for extra gory kill shots showing the bullet travelling through the skull, chest, or other body parts in x-ray mode showing the skeleton and internal organs.
Rebellion has added 4 new female characters, allowing you to play as one of 8 total characters which, as far as I can tell, doesn’t have any real bearing on the story itself. At the start of each mission, you choose your preferred loadout from a series of choices and away you go. As you progress through the mission, you face what seems at times to be an overwhelming horde of zombies. Every once in awhile, you’re lucky enough to come across a coveted safe house where you can restock ammo, explosives, and even change weapons.
I always felt relatively “safe” while playing Sniper Elite, even though things got hectic at times, it was pretty easy to lay out a plan and try and stick with it while sneaking around in the shadows, setting traps, taking enemies out silently or from a distance with your sniper rifle. Zombie Army Trilogy on the other hand throws that right out the window. The visuals and sound (more below) add to a sense of urgency, and there aren’t many places to set up shop and snipe away. In fact, a lot of time is spent in the open at the end of an alley, partially covered by some rubble, or in a hallway shooting at a distance and then switching to your pistol or shotgun when the undead get too close. While I got through most of Sniper Elite III without using landmines or trip wires (I’m lazy that way), many situations in Zombie Army Trilogy require you to set up as many explosives as you can before triggering the event – often times at the expense of having been overwhelmed by the horde the first time through.
And don’t think these are your relatively normal zombies. While they do shamble along, you’ve got your fast running zombies who explode when they die or get close to you, skeletons, undead super soldiers who require multiple headshots before they finally die, and even zombie snipers and chainsaw wielding elites! Speaking of headshots, they’re your best defence as if you don’t kill the zombies with one there’s a chance they’ll come back to try and get another piece of you.
While Zombie Army Trilogy is part of the Sniper Elite series, it’s different and hectic enough to feel entirely different and almost turns it into a bit more of a run-and-gun over a hide-and-snipe type game. Don’t get me wrong though, they are all are fun for different reasons.
While there is a solo campaign, Rebellion has also implemented a Horde survival mode where you face off against unlimited, and increasingly difficult, waves of zombies in what they call the “ultimate survival challenge”. I have to admit, playing solo I doubt I’d last very long in a zombie outbreak.
The graphics in Zombie Army Trilogy are fairly decent – if a bit dark. While Sniper Elite III alternated between night and day missions, the level of detail was easier to see given the brightness of the environments. That being said, the darkness adds to the mood and really induces some white knuckle playing when you find yourself slowly walking down a hallway waiting for the next batch of zombies to appear. The same level of detail is still there, but it’s harder to notice when indoors. When outdoors, the smoke effects and distant buildings look great and the entire general setting elevates the sense of despair. Some of the blood effects look a little off, but overall the animations when shooting off a zombie’s arm or watching the bullet travel through the X-Ray Kill Cam and come out the opposite side of a body all twisted and tumbling are well done.
Like the graphics, the sound in this game really adds to the creep factor. The background music is fairly repetitive and is very reminiscent of some of those 80s horror movies, but it works well and coupled with the mass waves of undead and darker graphics can at times cause you to shudder slightly. Everything from the moans of the zombies to the explosions and weapon reloading, the sound design is well done and it’s really easy to get immersed in the game. More than once I found myself starting to physically turn my head to the left or right upon hearing a zombie creeping up from the side or behind.
As mentioned above, I don’t think I’d last very long in a zombie apocalypse alone. Thankfully Rebellion has up to four player online co-op in Zombie Army Trilogy. While the number of enemies scales based on the number of players you have, it does feel a bit more manageable as you have someone to cover your side or back – not to mention having additional land mines and trip wires to place and grenades and dynamite to throw. Multiplayer allows you to either play campaign or horde modes with up to four people and you can start your own or join a quick match. The added bonus of multiplayer is the ability to revive your teammate when they go down – given you do so within the specified time. While the game is fun in single player – albeit a bit more frantic and on the tough side, it’s more fun mowing down the Nazi zombie hordes with a friend or three.
While Zombie Army Trilogy isn’t much different than other third-person shooters, it’s an interesting theme partially taking its pages out of the history books – minus the Nazi zombies of course. The game is fun, shooting zombies never gets old, and it’s even more fun when you get a friend or two involved as well. Even though two of the games were previously released, you do get three games for the price. If you’re a fan of shooters, like co-op and, and like the thought of laying waste to zombie hordes amuses you then you definitely can’t go wrong here.